The 4 Best GM Vehicles You Can’t Buy in Canada
In Canada, GM vehicles belong to four brands, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac, all of which feel thoroughly “domestic.” So, it may surprise you to know that GM produces vehicles in 37 countries under 12 different brand names. And while many of these international products are either boring or direct clones of what you’ll find in Canada, some are surprisingly interesting. Here are four exciting GM vehicles that you can’t buy in Canada.
Buick Velite 5 – China
In the simplest terms, the Buick Velite 5 is a rebadged Chevrolet Volt. The Volt (not the Bolt) is Chevy’s popular hybrid car. It offers one of the best fuel economy records on the market today. It can also drive up to 85 kilometres electrically without engaging the gasoline engine. However, in 2018, it’s estimated that nearly 75% of Saskatchewan’s energy production will still come from fossil fuels. So, although you’ll save money at the pump, your drive will be far from carbon neutral.
Plus the Volt, which resembles an early model Prius, is awful to look at. Chevy has tacked on an absurdly large plastic bumper, as if it knows the Volt will be rear-ended by drivers dumbstruck at its ill visage. But the Buick Velite 5 is another thing entirely. The sharpened grille is a great improvement. Buick offers stunning options for the interior as well. But the revised rear of the Buick Velite 5 is the most important change. From the back, the Buick Velite looks quite stylish – even sporty, asking questions of Tesla and other electrified standouts.
Buick Verano GS
The Buick Verano was discontinued in the North American market in 2016. Politely, in its final model year, the Verano was a mover of the aged. Which is why it may be surprising to learn that the Verano is still thriving in the Chinese market. The Verano GS is a sport-tuned hatchback in the style of the Honda Civic Type R or Ford Focus RS. As GM offers no North American “hot hatch,” the Verano GS would be very welcome.
Of course, the GS would probably look out of place amongst the rest of North America’s GM vehicles – let alone Buick’s. The North American contingent is much rounder and wider than the Eastern models. Admittedly that may start to change in the 2018 model year. Later this year, Buick will introduce the 2018 Regal GS. It will boast a 3.6L, 310-horsepower V6 and standard nine-speed transmission. Still nothing on offer in Canada will match the wild charm of China’s Verano GS.
Chevrolet SS – United States
This one is a bit of an oddball on the list. It technically falls into the international GM vehicles bracket because you can’t buy it in Canada. However, it is available for purchase in the United States. Further, the Chevrolet SS is a strange choice because it looks like a standard sedan from the rental car line. But don’t be deceived; The SS is a performance machine. It offers a standard 6.2L V8 engine with 415 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque. That engine allows the SS to charge from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. The handling is stiff and sporty. In short, the Chevy SS is thrilling. But it is currently slated for discontinuation, maybe a consequence of its lame styling. Consumers can find the same power elsewhere (Cadillac’s V lineup, for example) with aggressive design to match.
Holden Ute – Australia/Oceania
The Holden Ute is a wretched pickup-hearse hybrid available in “Son of a Gun Grey” and “Spitfire Green”. In a sense, it’s the spiritual opposite of the Buick Velite 5 that commenced our list. Its proportions are unnatural and it has a low stance like a deformed angel shark. But you have to admit, on roads dominated by black pickup trucks and drab crossovers, a rust orange orphan descended from the Chevrolet El Camino could give some character to your commute. Don’t believe me? Close your eyes and imagine it parked next to the grease bin at your local Denny’s, or spitting out couch cushions and loose timber on the highway. But you can’t doubt its titular utility.
The Holden Ute has a 6.2-litre engine that delivers 407 horsepower! And with Brembo brakes, head-up display, and automatic parking assist, the Ute is actually surprisingly sophisticated. Plus, with the demise of the Subaru Baja, there may be room in the hearts of consumers for an eccentric, miniature pickup.
What vehicle would you like to see imported to Canadian dealerships? My pick is the Buick Velite 5. Let us know in the comments.